A Wilted Rose. Georgian democracy limps on far from fragrant

#1
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article3149026.ece

No one can accuse Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian President, of lacking a sense of drama. Faced with mass street protests in Tbilisi two months ago, he overreacted disastrously. Riot police were authorised to use teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets. More than 350 demonstrators were taken to hospital.
...
Mr Saakashvili appeared to have transformed himself from leader to suppressor of popular protest in barely four years.
...
His official share of the vote was 51.8 per cent. In principle this amounts to a popular mandate. In practice the more significant figure is 96 per cent - his approval rating when swept to power.
...
The international verdict on Georgia's de facto referendum has been less glowing in the smallprint than the headlines. The US congressman leading the largest observers' delegation called it, extravagantly, “a triumphant step”. But his report also noted an “inequitable campaign environment”, which historians may consider an understatement for a campaign that started with a 15-day state of emergency and Georgia's two main non-state TV stations being taken off the air. They were allowed to resume broadcasting, but Mr Saakashvili dominated election coverage thereafter.
...
So far, few claims of fraud have been proven. The EU is therefore right to endorse the official result. But Mr Saakashvili must heed calls for prompt investigations of alleged irregularities. He must also show patience when the Opposition gathers in Tbilisi today for protests intended to force a run-off, and he must ensure that parliamentary elections scheduled for April are nothing less than a model of transparency. At 40, he is still young. With a microphone, he is still charismatic. But power has stripped him of his aura of idealism and integrity. Mr Saakashvili cannot take Western endorsement of his democratic credentials for granted. His greatest legacy would be a durable democratic pluralism in his homeland, but Georgia has nothing like it yet.
The elections took place 5 January but the final results are still not declared. Also there are no even preliminary results on referendum about the possibility of joining to NATO. Moreover even mentions about this referendum vanished from Western mass-media. What does it mean?
 
#2
KGB_resident said:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article3149026.ece

No one can accuse Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian President, of lacking a sense of drama. Faced with mass street protests in Tbilisi two months ago, he overreacted disastrously. Riot police were authorised to use teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets. More than 350 demonstrators were taken to hospital.
...
Mr Saakashvili appeared to have transformed himself from leader to suppressor of popular protest in barely four years.
...
His official share of the vote was 51.8 per cent. In principle this amounts to a popular mandate. In practice the more significant figure is 96 per cent - his approval rating when swept to power.
...
The international verdict on Georgia's de facto referendum has been less glowing in the smallprint than the headlines. The US congressman leading the largest observers' delegation called it, extravagantly, “a triumphant step”. But his report also noted an “inequitable campaign environment”, which historians may consider an understatement for a campaign that started with a 15-day state of emergency and Georgia's two main non-state TV stations being taken off the air. They were allowed to resume broadcasting, but Mr Saakashvili dominated election coverage thereafter.
...
So far, few claims of fraud have been proven. The EU is therefore right to endorse the official result. But Mr Saakashvili must heed calls for prompt investigations of alleged irregularities. He must also show patience when the Opposition gathers in Tbilisi today for protests intended to force a run-off, and he must ensure that parliamentary elections scheduled for April are nothing less than a model of transparency. At 40, he is still young. With a microphone, he is still charismatic. But power has stripped him of his aura of idealism and integrity. Mr Saakashvili cannot take Western endorsement of his democratic credentials for granted. His greatest legacy would be a durable democratic pluralism in his homeland, but Georgia has nothing like it yet.
The elections took place 5 January but the final results are still not declared. Also there are no even preliminary results on referendum about the possibility of joining to NATO. Moreover even mentions about this referendum vanished from Western mass-media. What does it mean?
It means he won Sergey. Not the Govt that Russia wants to see and potentially a "problem" particularly with regards to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Made worse by the fact that they are members of NATO PfP and probably will vote for full membership.

It doesn't help of course that what many see as Russian tinkering and interfering (not very cleverly - the old 1st CD would be disgusted!) by banning wine imports etc will only make matters worse.

I work with a Russian colleague and he genuinely can't understand why in some places (Baltic States, Poland etc) Rusiia is generaly distrusted and disliked.
 
#4
rickshaw-major said:
It means he won Sergey. Not the Govt that Russia wants to see and potentially a "problem" particularly with regards to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Made worse by the fact that they are members of NATO PfP and probably will vote for full membership.

It doesn't help of course that what many see as Russian tinkering and interfering (not very cleverly - the old 1st CD would be disgusted!) by banning wine imports etc will only make matters worse.

I work with a Russian colleague and he genuinely can't understand why in some places (Baltic States, Poland etc) Rusiia is generaly distrusted and disliked.
Economical sanctions are usual tool in international relations now. American blockade of Cuba springs in mind. As for Georgian goods - wine, tea then USA, EU are free to buy them.

As for Georgian membership in NATO then if Kosovo is declared (and recognised by NATO cuntries) as independent state then immediately independence of Abkhazia and S.Ossetia would be recognised by Russia. From formal point of view Georial could appeal to 5th chapter and what NATO would do in this situation?

Bearing in mind this (quite possible) scenario it would be unwise for NATO to adopt Georgia.

As for so called victory of mr.Saakashvili (sorry but I know about Georgian realities much better than many here) then the game is only beginning.

The leaders of opposition are sure that the elections were rigged and later or sooner they will come to power and will recall Western and American support of mr.Saakashvili.
 
#5
Btw, there is a similar situation in Georgia.

In the capital - Tbilisi - mr.Saakashvili lost but in remote and rural areas he has better results. Oppositionis consists of (mainly) intellectuals and influence the capital and big cities.

The victory of pro-Putin United Russia was not so bright in Moscow and other big cities (also turnout here was not so big). But in some places (especially in remote and rural areas, in predominantly Moslem regions) turnout was extremely high and vast majority voted not for intellectuals from Moscow but for local leaders that headed local lists of the United Russia.

I hear much that Russian elections were rigged but what are concrete irregularities?

As for access to TV then all parties had a lot of time on TV-1 and TV-2 (the most popular). By contrast the opposition in Georgia hadn't equal access to TV.
 
#6
KGB_resident said:
rickshaw-major said:
It means he won Sergey. Not the Govt that Russia wants to see and potentially a "problem" particularly with regards to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Made worse by the fact that they are members of NATO PfP and probably will vote for full membership.

It doesn't help of course that what many see as Russian tinkering and interfering (not very cleverly - the old 1st CD would be disgusted!) by banning wine imports etc will only make matters worse.

I work with a Russian colleague and he genuinely can't understand why in some places (Baltic States, Poland etc) Rusiia is generaly distrusted and disliked.
Economical sanctions are usual tool in international relations now. American blockade of Cuba springs in mind. As for Georgian goods - wine, tea then USA, EU are free to buy them.

As for Georgian membership in NATO then if Kosovo is declared (and recognised by NATO cuntries) as independent state then immediately independence of Abkhazia and S.Pssetia would be recognised by Russia. From formal point of view Georial could appeal to 5th chapter and what NATO would do in this situation?

Bearing in mind this (quite possible)scenario it would be unwise for NATO to adopt Georgia.

As for so called so called victory of mr.Saakashvili (sorry but I know about Georgian realities much better than many here) then the game is only beginning.

The leaders of opposition are sure that the elections were rigged and later or sooner they will come to power and will recall Western and American support of mr.Saakashvili.
I hope you meant that in my bold - RESPECT :D

Sergey on the whole I agree with you. None of this smells of roses and the entire frozen war scenario is a nightmare. However it isn't going to go away and from my personal perspective, we (the West) would have done a lot better if we hadn't raised a middle finger to Russia when she was on her arrse in the '90's.

The entire region is a p1sspot - on both sides. The ammunition depot explosion in Georgia just after Russian troops left wasn't exactly cool either though ( I don't like coincidences :roll: )

Maybe we need to get adult about the place although emnities going back Centuries make Northern Ireland look like a simple political problem.
 
#7
rickshaw-major said:
KGB_resident said:
rickshaw-major said:
It means he won Sergey. Not the Govt that Russia wants to see and potentially a "problem" particularly with regards to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Made worse by the fact that they are members of NATO PfP and probably will vote for full membership.

It doesn't help of course that what many see as Russian tinkering and interfering (not very cleverly - the old 1st CD would be disgusted!) by banning wine imports etc will only make matters worse.

I work with a Russian colleague and he genuinely can't understand why in some places (Baltic States, Poland etc) Rusiia is generaly distrusted and disliked.
Economical sanctions are usual tool in international relations now. American blockade of Cuba springs in mind. As for Georgian goods - wine, tea then USA, EU are free to buy them.

As for Georgian membership in NATO then if Kosovo is declared (and recognised by NATO cuntries) as independent state then immediately independence of Abkhazia and S.Pssetia would be recognised by Russia. From formal point of view Georial could appeal to 5th chapter and what NATO would do in this situation?

Bearing in mind this (quite possible)scenario it would be unwise for NATO to adopt Georgia.

As for so called so called victory of mr.Saakashvili (sorry but I know about Georgian realities much better than many here) then the game is only beginning.

The leaders of opposition are sure that the elections were rigged and later or sooner they will come to power and will recall Western and American support of mr.Saakashvili.
I hope you meant that in my bold - RESPECT :D

Sergey on the whole I agree with you. None of this smells of roses and the entire frozen war scenario is a nightmare. However it isn't going to go away and from my personal perspective, we (the West) would have done a lot better if we hadn't raised a middle finger to Russia when she was on her arrse in the '90's.

The entire region is a p1sspot - on both sides. The ammunition depot explosion in Georgia just after Russian troops left wasn't exactly cool either though ( I don't like coincidences :roll: )

Maybe we need to get adult about the place although emnities going back Centuries make Northern Ireland look like a simple political problem.
Yes, it is a funny misprint - NATO CUNTries instead of countries.

As for democracy then it is a very mysterious matter. I hate to say it but I regard a possibility that I would vote for mr.Medvedev - a puppet candidate appointed by pres.Putin.

Recently Russian natioanlists, xenophibes and anti-Semites have launched a campaing (mainly in internet) pointing out that mr.Medvedev is half-Jewish (his mother was Jewish) and his wife is Jewish.

It is absolutely unfair to judge any person by his ethnical background. It is nothing but ugly racism and xenophonia that I reject.

Edited to add a comment from Washington

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jan/98806.htm

Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
...
International monitors identified significant problems that must be corrected. We urge the Government of Georgia to investigate all allegations of irregularities and to work with all political forces to address the challenges and shortcomings identified by international observers...
Meanwhile, Georgian opposition don't think about surrender

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080108/wl_nm/georgia_election_dc;_ylt=AtAGlytpJ.CqW5qBzqEzbKlm.3QA

Saakashvili's slim majority means he avoided a second round run off with Levan Gachechiladze, head of a nine party opposition coalition, who says the vote was fiddled.

"You have stolen 500,000 votes," an angry Gachechiladze bellowed at Levan Tarkhnishvili, the election commission chief.

"We've facts proving the vote was rigged, but you've signed off on all of this. You are a main accomplice in this plot," he said

Western monitors said there had been voting violations but not enough to influence the overall result.
If mr.Saakashvili has according ellectoral commision that he controls) only 51-52% then even minor violations could be decisive.
 
#8
KGB_resident said:
Also there are no even preliminary results on referendum about the possibility of joining to NATO. Moreover even mentions about this referendum vanished from Western mass-media. What does it mean?
I don't know about this Sergey, I have been hearing it a lot on BBC 'high brow' radio news programs, usually in the context of poking the Bear with a stick because of the Iranian situation. I would also say that in the US recently I was struck by just how sophisticated Georgia's PR was in raising its profile and 'Westerness' with US voters, not just current affairs geeks either.

I could see Bush signing some sort of 'mutual defence' treaty with Georgia before he goes and Congress and the Senate raising no objection at all.

Now that would be a hook to snare a New Presidents foriegn policy.
 
#9
Oh, Sergey, I was wondering when you would pop up on this - I suppose you must have been enjoying Orthodox Christmas. I think there has been little attention to the result of the NATO referendum a) because the count has not finished yet and b) because the result is a forgone conclusion (exit polls showed 61% in favour of membership).

It is hardly surprising that such a negative evaluation of the elections comes from a Murdoch newspaper - for those who don't know, Murdoch bought half of a Georgian TV station belonging to Surrey-based "oligarch" (i.e. premier league crook) Badri Patarkatsishvili, who fell out with Saakashvili, offered to bank roll the opposition and then began using the TV station to promote his own campaign. Unfortunately, Patarkatsishvili was caught in a sting operation offering a senior Georgian Interior Ministry official 100million dollars to defect to the opposition and arrest the interior minister. Badri's TV station them committed hari-kiri and Badri ended up with 6% per cent of the vote having completely discredited himself. It looks like Rupert backed the wrong horse.

For those who want a properly informed report on the election, I would suggest reading this article by Robert Parsons here.

He is basically right in saying that the opposition are as much to blame as Saakashvili for the failings of Georgian democracy - they spent years fannying around splitting up and reforming, only to form an extremely weak coalition of minor parties when Badri decided to open his chequebook.
 
#10
bearstillinthewoods said:
Oh, Sergey, I was wondering when you would pop up on this - I suppose you must have been enjoying Orthodox Christmas.
You are quite right. Tomorrow is the first working day in Russia.

bearstillinthewoods said:
I think there has been little attention to the result of the NATO referendum a) because the count has not finished yet and b) because the result is a forgone conclusion (exit polls showed 61% in favour of membership).
These so called 'exit polls' were 'conducted' by state-run (read Saakashvili controlled) TV. Their results were predefined. Still there are no mention about even preliminary results.

bearstillinthewoods said:
It is hardly surprising that such a negative evaluation of the elections comes from a Murdoch newspaper - for those who don't know, Murdoch bought half of a Georgian TV station...
That was vandalised by so called 'police'. The TV station was not only closed but expensive hadware destroyed. 7 December Imedi-TV was allowed to reopen but 7 weeks later TV journalists stopped brodcasting because of pressure of the authorities.

bearstillinthewoods said:
...belonging to Surrey-based "oligarch" (i.e. premier league crook) Badri Patarkatsishvili, who fell out with Saakashvili, offered to bank roll the opposition and then began using the TV station to promote his own campaign.
A candidate for presidency intends to use his TV station to promote his own campaign. Such a crime. By contrast mr.Saakashvili in fact privatised state-run TV and it is of course absolutely democratic.

bearstillinthewoods said:
Unfortunately, Patarkatsishvili was caught in a sting operation offering a senior Georgian Interior Ministry official 100million dollars to defect to the opposition and arrest the interior minister. Badri's TV station them committed hari-kiri and Badri ended up with 6% per cent of the vote having completely discredited himself. It looks like Rupert backed the wrong horse.
I don't like these tycoons including mr.Patarkatsishvili. So let's forget about him.

As for elections then Russian TV showed representative of the opposition showed (in central electoral commision of Georgia) a protocol compiled in one of polling station in Tbilisi. According to it Saakashvili got 99 votes but in final account of the central electoral commision Saakashvili got 526 votes on the same polling station.



And who has paid for the helicopter? Have other candidates ability to use helicopters?
 
#11
KGB_resident said:
bearstillinthewoods said:
Oh, Sergey, I was wondering when you would pop up on this - I suppose you must have been enjoying Orthodox Christmas.
You are quite right. Tomorrow is the first working day in Russia.

bearstillinthewoods said:
I think there has been little attention to the result of the NATO referendum a) because the count has not finished yet and b) because the result is a forgone conclusion (exit polls showed 61% in favour of membership).
These so called 'exit polls' were 'conducted' by state-run (read Saakashvili controlled) TV. Their results were predefined. Still there are no mention about even preliminary results.

bearstillinthewoods said:
It is hardly surprising that such a negative evaluation of the elections comes from a Murdoch newspaper - for those who don't know, Murdoch bought half of a Georgian TV station...
That was vandalised by so called 'police'. The TV station was not only closed but expensive hadware destroyed. 7 December Imedi-TV was allowed to reopen but 7 weeks later TV journalists stopped brodcasting because of pressure of the authorities.

bearstillinthewoods said:
...belonging to Surrey-based "oligarch" (i.e. premier league crook) Badri Patarkatsishvili, who fell out with Saakashvili, offered to bank roll the opposition and then began using the TV station to promote his own campaign.
A candidate for presidency intends to use his TV station to promote his own campaign. Such a crime. By contrast mr.Saakashvili in fact privatised state-run TV and it is of course absolutely democratic.

bearstillinthewoods said:
Unfortunately, Patarkatsishvili was caught in a sting operation offering a senior Georgian Interior Ministry official 100million dollars to defect to the opposition and arrest the interior minister. Badri's TV station them committed hari-kiri and Badri ended up with 6% per cent of the vote having completely discredited himself. It looks like Rupert backed the wrong horse.
I don't like these tycoons including mr.Patarkatsishvili. So let's forget about him.

As for elections then Russian TV showed representative of the opposition showed (in central electoral commision of Georgia) a protocol compiled in one of polling station in Tbilisi. According to it Saakashvili got 99 votes but in final account of the central electoral commision Saakashvili got 526 votes on the same polling station.



And who has paid for the helicopter? Have other candidates ability to use helicopters?


Sergey, without wishing to get into a quote war, the exit poll merely reflects what countless polls by every organization under the sun has shown in recent years - the majority of Georgians have no problem with NATO members . Also, the organizations conducting the exit poll are entirely reputable, regardless of who commissioned them.

As for Imedi, the chronology is this:

November
Imedi broadcasts untrue report that riot police are planning to raid cathedral;
Imedi raided by police, government says Badri using TV station to stir unrest;
International community says no he isn't, put Imedi back on;
December
Imedi resumes broadcasts;
Badri caught on tape saying "I'm going to use my TV station to stir up unrest after the election so Mr Senior Policeman, will you accept 100m dollars to defect from the government and arrest them"
Imedi stops broadcasts as journalists walk out in disgust (note that unlike after the raid in Nov, there has been no peep from NewsCorp about this shut down, which is entirely voluntary - I suspect Badri and Rupert are now having a major falling out);
Badri says "Yeah, I did say all that stuff, but um, it was like, out of context, you know, when I said coup...";
January
No-one votes for Badri because he has shown his true colours.


Now don't forget that Berezovskiy was exiled from Russia for doing exactly what Badri has been trying to do - and no, let's not forget Badri because he is key to the whole thing: he explicitly instigated the November rallies which led to the early election. Why, one wonders, could he not wait a few more months for the scheduled election. Maybe it is because he was well aware that the opposition was simply not strong enough to win a proper election.
 
#12
bearstillinthewoods said:
Sergey, without wishing to get into a quote war, the exit poll merely reflects what countless polls by every organization under the sun has shown in recent years - the majority of Georgians have no problem with NATO members . Also, the organizations conducting the exit poll are entirely reputable, regardless of who commissioned them.
However, check any western news source - no one mention about NATO referendum in Georgia. Count 2+2 and you would come to a conclusion that the majority voted against membership in NATO.

As for 'reputable' organisations then Russian TV mentioned Ukrainian pollsters that claimed that mr.Saakashvili hasn't clear majority, moreover his result is lower that one by the leader of Georgian opposition.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7177762.stm

Mr Gachechiladze's key ally, Salome Zurabishvili, said that if there was no second round by Sunday "the whole of Georgia will be out on the streets".
Who is Salome Zurabishvili? She is French citizen, former ambassador of France to Georgia. She adopted Georgian citizenship and was foreign minister in the Governmet led by mr.Saakashvili. But as she saw corruption in the government then she resigned and joined the opposition.

In interview to France Presse Salome Zurabishvili said that Western estimates of Georian elections as free and fair are insulting to the people
of Georgia.

I tried to find English quote but only BBC-Russian mentioned this claim made by the former French diplomat.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/international/newsid_7177000/7177712.stm

Btw, there is a big difference in coverage of Georgian election between BBC-English and BBC-Russian. Russian section must take into account that Russian mass media present full picture while western ones select information.

bearstillinthewoods said:
As for Imedi, the chronology is this:

November
Imedi broadcasts untrue report that riot police are planning to raid cathedral;
Imedi raided by police, government says Badri using TV station to stir unrest;
International community says no he isn't, put Imedi back on;
December
Imedi resumes broadcasts;
Badri caught on tape saying "I'm going to use my TV station to stir up unrest after the election so Mr Senior Policeman, will you accept 100m dollars to defect from the government and arrest them"
Imedi stops broadcasts as journalists walk out in disgust (note that unlike after the raid in Nov, there has been no peep from NewsCorp about this shut down, which is entirely voluntary - I suspect Badri and Rupert are now having a major falling out);
Badri says "Yeah, I did say all that stuff, but um, it was like, out of context, you know, when I said coup...";
January
No-one votes for Badri because he has shown his true colours.
I repeat I don't like Badri. So I would not like to defend him in any way. But there is such thing as 'freedom of speech'. If Western TV would be raided after every 'untrue' report then I suspect that all TV stations would be closed. What authorities should do? Fill a comlain to court and after fair trial TV station, its editor would be fined. It is a legal procedure. Instead of this democratic approach mr.Saakashvili send police to crush TV station. Is it a democracy?

And has opposition candidates equal access to TV? No of course. In fact mr.Saakashvili monopolised state-run TV. So Georgian elections are too far from international standards.
 
#14
mr.fawlty said:
Another famous Georgian (Stalin) said about elections: it doesn't matter who votes, what matters is who counts the votes.
Exactly. Moreover if some votes are counted several times

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080109/95788985.html

The leading American expert on Georgia, Lincoln Mitchell, Assistant Professor in the Practice of International Politics at the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University ... shares his views on the outcome of the voting and further developments in the country with DMITRY GORNOSTAEV, RIA Novosti New York Bureau Chief.

I think the opposition's decision to call for demonstrations is legitimate, although I would suggest they hold a day or two of peaceful rallies to register their protest and then move on. While the opposition may have lost, it is a huge victory in some respects.

Saakashvili is no longer the president with 96% of the vote. He is the president with 52% of the vote, or whatever the final number will be. His claim on a mandate is much weaker.

- The New York Times cited the opposition claiming that the government had made a "carousel" voting with the buses carrying Saakashvili's supporters from one polling station to another. Could this allegation be true and if so, could this affect the outcome of the voting count?

- As I said before, the minor, by the standards of much of the region, election day violations may add up to the difference of whether or not there is a runoff, but it is not easy to know that for certain.
 
#15
New twist. Likely English-language news-sources would ignore it but according to

http://www.fr-online.de/in_und_ausl...=1269374&sid=e716c1e349eeca7fccad96d917b26e9f

Wahl in Georgien massiv gefälscht

OSZE: "Erhebliche" Manipulationen / Saakaschwili geht auf Oppostion zu

In Georgien hat die Opposition nach eigenen Angaben detaillierte Belege für massive Wahlfälschung zugunsten des alten Präsidenten Michail Saakaschwili und erkennt dessen offiziell verkündeten Sieg nicht an. Der Leiter der Wahlbeobachterkommission der Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa (OSZE), der deutsche Diplomat Dieter Boden, bestätigte der FR "grobe, fahrlässige und vorsätzliche Fälschungen bei der Auszählung der Wahl, die auch von unseren Beobachtern berichtet werden". Er sprach von "chaotischen Verhältnissen" in der Wahlkommission.
Elections in Georgia substantially falsified

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: “Substantial one” manipulations/Saakaschwili goes toward Oppostion

In Georgia the opposition has detailed accounts for substantial election fraud according to own data in favor of the former president Mikhail Saakaschwili and recognizes its not on officially announced victory. The head of the elections observer commission of the organization for security and co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the German diplomat Dieter Boden, confirmed the FR “rough, negligent and deliberate falsifications during the counting of the votes, which are reported also by our observers”. He spoke of “chaotic conditions” in the electoral comission.
 
#16
armchair_jihad said:
KGB_resident said:
Also there are no even preliminary results on referendum about the possibility of joining to NATO. Moreover even mentions about this referendum vanished from Western mass-media. What does it mean?
I don't know about this Sergey.
Just few minutes ago i have heard the news on TV-Zvezda (The Star).

73% of Georgians voted for NATO. The exit polls suggested something like 61%.
 
#17
Sergey, can I suggest that if you really want a clear picture of affairs in Georgia (probably not what you are paid for though), can I suggest that you stop reading RIA-Novosti and stop watching Zvezda TV (is that the only channel at the Lubyanka/Khodinka?), drop your colonial mentality and read locals sources, not ill-informed Russian or Western press.

(PS That "leading American expert on Georgia" is nothing of the sort, Boden says he was misquoted, and as for the NATO vote exit polls, well look at what happened in New Hampshire - I think you have to accept the fact that most Georgians think the Russians are c**nts, and frankly the Putin govt hasn't done anything to persuade them otherwise)
 
#18
bearstillinthewoods said:
Sergey, can I suggest that if you really want a clear picture of affairs in Georgia (probably not what you are paid for though), can I suggest that you stop reading RIA-Novosti and stop watching Zvezda TV (is that the only channel at the Lubyanka/Khodinka?), drop your colonial mentality and read locals sources, not ill-informed Russian or Western press.

(PS That "leading American expert on Georgia" is nothing of the sort, Boden says he was misquoted, and as for the NATO vote exit polls, well look at what happened in New Hampshire - I think you have to accept the fact that most Georgians think the Russians are c**nts, and frankly the Putin govt hasn't done anything to persuade them otherwise)
Mate, hint me please, where could I get information about the referendum?

A referendum about the possibility to join NATO is quite rare, moreover unique event. and it is very strange that main stream Western mass media still keep silence about it.

Were the elections free and fair? Let's read original OSCE report.

http://www.osce.org/documents/odihr/2008/01/29182_en.pdf

The news coverage of private broadcasters monitored showed imbalance in favour of the ruling party’s candidate.
...
The blurring of the line between state and political party, which is not in compliance with paragraph 5.4 of the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document, was an issue and created an unequal campaign environment. The distribution of vouchers for such things as utilities and medical supplies to
vulnerable groups was criticized as an alleged misuse of budgetary funds in support of Mr.Saakashvili. UNM officials said the voucher distribution was planned before the election was called. However, there is evidence that the distribution was used for campaign purposes, blurring the separation between state activities and the UNM candidate’s election campaign. The vouchers prominently displayed that they were a subsidy from the President. Healthcare vouchers, as well as employment scheme leaflets, featured visually outstanding number “5”s – the number on the ballot under which the UNM has run in elections since 2004. Distributors of vouchers sometimes asked recipients whether they would vote for Mr. Saakashvili, and asked them to sign documents confirming their support. Vouchers were in some cases distributed from UNM offices.
...
The campaign was overshadowed by widespread allegations of intimidation and pressure, among others on public-sector employees. These included a number of confirmed cases of pressure on
opposition supporters by the police and local officials to desist from campaigning, threats of arbitrary arrest or job dismissal and cases of landlords who were pressurized not to let premises for use as opposition campaign offices. Isolated instances of violence against opposition activists, including kidnapping, were reported and verified. Such practices are inconsistent with paragraph 7.7 of the OSCE Copenhagen Document...
...
The most widespread procedural violations were related to inking safeguards, with not all voters being checked for ink in 15 per cent of polling stations visited, and ink not always being applied in 12 per cent. In addition, IEOM observers reported that during 12 polling stations visits, voters who had already been inked were allowed to vote.
 
#19
At last there is an information Georgia's referendum about entering NATO. However it is BBC-Russian.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/international/newsid_7184000/7184506.stm

????? 73 ???????? ??????? ??????, ????????? ??????? ? ??????????? 5 ??????, ??????????? ?? ????????????? ?????? ? ???????????????????? ???????. ?????? ??????????? ??????, ?????????????? ??????????????? ??????.
According to official data almost 73% voted for joining to NATO. It is 12% more that exit polls suggested.

If there was 12% mistake in one exit poll then how credible results of other exit polls. For example initial result of exit poll showed that 52% voted for mr.Saakashvili. It was claimed that statistical error is within 3% boundary. but now we see that real result of Saakashvili is between

40% and 64%.

Btw, would mainstream (English language) mass media report about the results of the poll?
 

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